I’m starting to write this the night of the 16th on Microsoft Word to upload on the 17th whenever I find a café with WiFi. There is no useable WiFi here at the hostel. There is a WiFi service of the type where you have to give the company your cell phone number, and in return you receive a text message with your login and password. Then they have your phone number and can send unlimited spam text messages. However, I was willing to undergo even that to get on the Internet, but after following the procedure, I received no text message. Perhaps they don’t want USA cell phone numbers.
On that subject, I am using Google’s Project Fi cellular service, which works worldwide, and I am very pleased. If I’m connected to WiFi, calls to the USA and Canada are free. Calls inside North America are all free, and calls made in Europe using the cellar network are 20 cents a minute. Cellular data costs $10 US per gigabit worldwide, and there’s a credit carried over for all unused data. Many times I have been in a place where I could not connect to WiFi, and I’ve been glad to be able to connect to the Internet to plot a course to a destination on Google Maps, and despite that, I have yet to use a whole dollar’s worth of data.
The downside is that it only works with Android phones, officially only with Google phones, but I managed to get a free SIM card from Project Fi and get an old Samsung Android phone to work. I’m not trying to sell the service, but if someone refers you who is already a customer, you get a credit ($20, I think) on the first month’s bill. If you’re interested in a referral from me, email me at jack (at) azroadcyclist (dot) com.
Back to the Camino. I road yesterday from Tui here to Rodondela. I stopped early, because I have learned that the pilgrim’s hostels start filling up as soon as they open. I’m staying at Casa da Torre Rondela, which you have probably figured out is Galician for House of the Round Tower. It is a Xunta hostel, pictured below, and run by the Region of Galicia and very cheap, five euros for the bed plus the obligatory purchase of a disposable bed sheet and pillow case for another euro.
I did not realize it when I registered, but the Xunta hostels will not accept cyclists until everyone else is accommodated, and the woman working registration said later that she did not realize that I was a cyclist. As I was already registered, she said I could stay if no one complained. So far, no one has, and there is a sign hanging outside the hostel stating that it is full, so I think I’m safe. I’m going to avoid Xunta hostels from now on.
I left Tui yesterday without breakfast and didn’t find an open café until I reached the outskirts of Porriño almost 10 kilometers from the start. I ordered a coffee, and I was served two small cakes with it. So I ordered another round, and those two coffees plus four tiny cakes were breakfast.
Below is a picture of my bike patiently waiting for me outside the café.
When I reached the hostel here, it was not yet open, but there was a line of backpacks before the door. At the front of the line, I recognized the sign from the Italian woman who gave me a free hug two nights ago. She had left her backpack in line to go see the town, but when she returned to check in, she immediately opened her arms and gave me another hug. Now that I think of it, the only hugs I received while walking the Camino francés a few years ago were also from Italian women. Hugging must be an Italian thing. If so, it’s a big plus for Italian culture.
The only other picture I have to share today is the one below of one of the buildings in the center of Redondela.